Monday, August 23, 2010

Two latest book reviews

Book:  Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk

Summary:  Using magic means it uses you back, and every spell exacts a price from its user. But some people get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent. Then it’s Allison Beckstrom’s job to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept the family fortune—and the strings that come with it. But when she finds a boy dying from a magical Offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into his world of black magic. And the forces she calls on in her quest for the truth will make her capable of things that some will do anything to control.
My review:  I ended up giving this book four stars (really liked) because of the world that Devon Monk created. The book itself reads like what I believe it was - the set up to a series - and in the beginning there is a lot of world building and a catalyst to bring the character to where she is at the end. I did really love the main character and how easily her feelings contradicted themselves against her actions or even just against how she felt moments later. She felt very real to me. I also really loved the idea that there are rules and consequences for using the magical energy, even if it is used for good.
Basically, it is one of those books that I picked up and ended up spending more time on my Saturday finishing up because I enjoyed it. And I'm highly interested to see how book two plays out.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Book:  Forget About It by Caprice Crane

Summary:  Jordan Landau is having a bad life. At twenty-five, she is attractive, smart, funny and talented. But all that doesn't keep her mother from calling her fat, her boss from stealing her ideas, and her boyfriend from cheating on her. Day in and day out, she sits back and watches as everyone walks all over her. Then one day while riding her bike home from a particularly awful day, Jordan collides with a car door and is knocked clear off her bicycle. Coming to in the hospital, Jordan realizes she has a perfect excuse for a "do-over"; she vows to fake amnesia and reinvent herself.
And it works. Finally, Jordan is able to get the credit she deserves at work, and she stands up to her family and her jerk boyfriend. She's living the life she always dreamed of--until the unthinkable happens. Suddenly Jordan must start over for real, and figure out what really makes her happy--and how to live a truly memorable life.

Review:  (contains spoilers)

Despite the insanity of premise of the book, I really enjoyed how the majority of the story played out. I love the writing and could definitely relate to the main character, Jordan, and her issues and need for a "do-over." I think everyone goes through moments like that. The author managed to pull off this idea of faking amnesia without it coming off like too much of a soap opera and just passing for what it was - a nutty plan from someone going through a rough patch.

However, my issue came up in the last act of the novel, where it really did seem to turn toward the insane soap opera writing. I get the journey that the author was attempting to create for Jordan, but it just went so far out there that I started to shake the book since I couldn't shake the character (which does, again, prove the creation of a great character).

My other issue was that I felt like the first part of the book did build up her relationship with Todd, then laid out this huge pronouncement, but never really dealt with it to a satisfactory place...part of which, I feel was because of the last act of the novel.

Overall: enjoyable. If you've got the time, go for it, but it's not the book I'd force on my friends as a "must-read."

Shallow comments: In my head, I'm torn between my love of Todd and Travis, but I think Todd wins out. Is there anyone who reads this and feels anything but repulsed by Dirk?

Rating: 3/5 stars

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